Turning the smartphone into an EAP classroom learning device through Kahoot!

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Research into MALL has identified various benefits for language learning and teaching: portability of learning, immediacy of communication between tutor and students, benefits to group-work through file-sharing, flexibility in materials design, increase in learner engagement (Viberg & Gronlund, 2012), and the bypassingof traditional teaching restrictions of time, location and mode of instruction. However, few studies investigate the benefits of MALL within an EAP context. With many of the millions of international students at English speaking universities joining EAP courses, and as mobile devices are becoming a fundamental part of the typical student’s communicative culture, it makes sense to explore possibilities for MALL in EAP  classrooms. Several challenges posed by MALL for EAP can be identified. First, the speed of change has left many EAP departments behind in terms of resources and teacher training (Palloff & Pratt, 2013). Second, mobile phones are often labelled a distraction, leading to attempted bans on usage in classrooms and lecture theatres (Lepp, Barkley & Kapinski, 2014), or debates on the extent to which mobile phone access should be permitted. Third,technological problems can arise, such as which device to use and the limitations of a small screen.This present paper, therefore, explores how classroom-based EAP learning could occur through mobile devices whilst addressing these concerns. Many opportunities exist, but this study analyses the use of the web based program “Kahoot!”, which allows students to take part in multiple-choice quizzes online through their smartphones, with instant results provided through a teacher-controlled screen displayed on the classroom projector. The software was chosen as it requires minimal training to get started and features a student response system (SRS) which works well on small screens. Being web-based, it is compatible with the majority of smartphones that a student could typically possess. Furthermore, by requiring learning to happen through the mobile device, their use for more “distracting” purposes might be curtailed.The study involved a group of 20 students from China and Brazil in an EAP class in the UK and took place over a 6 week period. Classes covered common academic language issues (e.g. academic style and features of essay writing) and consolidation exercises were conducted via Kahoot! to end the sessions.Results showed that, during tasks involving Kahoot!, engagement levels of students dramatically increased,the teacher was afforded instant feedback possibilities which would have been much more time-consuming through paper-based tasks, and almost no students used their mobile phone for any other purpose during the activity. Some students gave feedback, confirming Kahoot! to be highly beneficial for creating focus and maintaining their attention.In summary, the experiment demonstrated that mobile devices might be successfully used as part of EAP classroom activities, with unanticipated extra benefits for the teacher. This proposed conference presentation will provide an overview of the status of MALL in EAP, outline my research in more detail, and show how software such as “Kahoot!” can be used as a classroom tool through a practical, interactive demonstration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2017
EventEUROCALL 2017 - Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Aug 201726 Aug 2017


ConferenceEUROCALL 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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